The Nigeria Football Federation has expressed sadness following the deaths on Wednesday of the former Super Falcons and U17 Boys’ National Team Coach, Godwin Izilein, and renowned football journalist, diarist, and analyst Kayode Tijani.
NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, expressed shock at the passing of the two respected figures in the Nigeria game, who were equally known and revered internationally for their accomplishments.
“We were preparing for our match against South Africa in the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals, and then we heard the news of the passing of Coach Izilein. And just as we were celebrating the victory, we were again assailed with another sad news of the death of Mr. Kayode Tijani.
“We are in mourning, but we are comforted that both men left their giant footprints in the sands of time. Coach Izilein not only represented Nigeria at the senior level, but he also won the Women's Africa Cup of Nations with the Super Falcons in 2004 as Head Coach, among other remarkable achievements.
Kayode Tijani was an international journalist of repute and took his forte of record-keeping most seriously.”
Coach Izilein died at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, while Tijani breathed his last at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital. The late Tijani has been buried in Lagos according to Muslim rites.
An effervescent, humble, and diligent international football journalist of repute, Tijani worked for several local and international publications, including FAME magazine, Complete Football magazine, and the pan-African football magazine, African Soccer.
In 1995, he co-founded Nigeria’s first-ever all-sport daily sport publication, Sportlight.
A diarist with unflagging passion, he also was involved in football punditry on radio and television stations in Nigeria and internationally.